Catholic Stars of 2013: Dr. Jennifer Morse Founder of the pro-marriage Ruth Institute

Dr. Jennifer Morse wears many hats, any one of which would keep most people’s hands completely full. She’s the founder and president of an institute to further marriage, a senior research fellow and an author. Her experience includes research and teaching for big-name universities. She’s written scholarly articles that have appeared in an exhaustive list of publications, and she’s undoubtedly an expert in her field. The goal of the Ruth Institute, according to its website, is “to promote lifelong married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.”

Morse also serves as senior research fellow in economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and writes extensively in support of marriage.

But what strikes me, first and foremost, is that Morse is a wife and mother. When I first examined her accomplishments, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated. What could this superstar awesome person possibly have in common with someone who can barely wear matched socks?

And that’s when I read that Morse is a mom. She has a birth child and an adopted child, and for three-plus years, she and her husband served as foster parents. She was a committed career woman; after she earned her doctorate in economics, she spent 15 years teaching at Yale and George Mason University.

She’s still a committed career woman, I suppose, but now, as I look up to Morse, I see that, like many of the mom saints I so admire, she and I do have common ground. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

There is, above all, courage in what I’ve learned about Morse. She adopted and gave birth in the same year (I’m guessing that’s an amazing story), moved across the country after being firmly established on the East Coast, and then went ahead and founded an institute that has put her firmly in the crosshairs of the anti-marriage contingency.

Morse’s tireless advocacy of marriage is an inspiration to me and a reason to continue the struggle in my own life to live as a witness. As we face cultural trials such as the Defense of Marriage Act being ruled unconstitutional and “gay marriage” becoming the new normal, it’s reassuring to have the brave example of women such as Morse.

Sarah Reinhard writes from Ohio. She blogs at


Catholic Stars of 2013
Main page
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Monica Fitzgibbons
Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Curtis Martin
Mother Delores Hart, O.S.B.
Dr. Jennifer Morse
Father Tom Rosica
Bernadette Smyth